With the 2014 election behind us, Congress is back in Washington for a brief "lame duck" session to finish their work for the year. Any bills not passed by the end of the year will expire and have to be reintroduced in the new legislative session that begins in January 2015.
So, now is the time for governments to make marketplace fairness legislation a reality! The GFOA needs you to contact your members of Congress as soon as possible and ask them to move the Marketplace Fairness Act past the finish line. If you have already reached out directly to your congressional delegation, we are also urging members to write letters to the editor or op-eds for your local news outlet highlighting the importance of passing this legislation.
The Senate has already passed legislation that will level the playing field between online and brick and mortar sellers. We need the House to do the same.
What Can You Do To Help Pass the Marketplace Fairness Act?
The GFOA has developed a suite of advocacy materials for our members to use for this advocacy effort, including a draft letter, draft op-ed, talking points and a factsheet.
You can also view similar tools developed by our coalition partners at the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and National Governors Association. Additional materials also include a report on the impact of marketplace fairness on a sample of cities, and data on the total uncollected sales tax in 2012 in each state. Contact information for your members of Congress is available here. To find out who your member of Congress is visit http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
Congress is only in session for a few more weeks, so please reach out to your members of Congress and the press to urge House action on Marketplace Fairness Act today!
Why is this legislation necessary?
Consumer failure to pay online sales and use taxes as a result of federal inaction on this issue annually results in the loss of billions of dollars per year in taxes owed to state and local governments on remote sales. For example, according to the Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales in 2005 were $87 billion, and grew by nearly 40 percent to $225.5 billion in 2012. Correspondingly, the National Conference of State Legislatures revealed last year that these sales produced approximately $23 billion in unpaid sales and use taxes in 2012.
Passing The Marketplace Fairness Act would finally bring federal law into the digital age by enabling state and local governments to collect sales taxes on online purchases that are already owed to them but are not being paid, as well as level the playing field for brick and mortar retailers who are currently at a five to ten percent competitive disadvantage to remote sellers because Congress has failed to act to update national tax laws with respect to digital sales.